An Overdue Update

I’m such a wretched blogger. Come to think of it – just blame the kids. If they would just play sweetly for hours unattended or sleep 15 hours at night, I could do a better job!😉

Let me try to hit all the high points and get you up to speed.

The triplets are 19 months old now. Go ahead, shed a tear for me. My little ones are growing up. Just last night I had one of my frequent sobbing spells of, ‘where has the time gone?’ The strangest moments make me well up with tears as I ponder the thought that at this very instant, this is the smallest they’ll ever be. This time tomorrow, the kids will be bigger, have more skills, and be less baby-like. And I weep. Because really, what else is a mother to do when her life is so overwhelmingly chaotic and her children require so much time and energy that the momma just can’t sit and relish the blessing of the moment!?

I’m still nursing! No real planned end in sight. We’re just cruising along and seeing where the road leads us. I’ll never get this time with them or with any baby ever again. So, I’m enjoying it still. And clearly, my little milk babies are too! I only nurse them 3 times a day. I say ‘only’, but as Doug pointed out today, that’s still 9 nursing sessions a day – the same as the first month of a singleton!

The trips have developed their own little language with each other. It’s pretty common to hear strange babbling, voice inflections, and pointing, and then they all rotate a toy or disperse about the house in organized fashion to find a toy or start up a little game they’ve invented. They hug, kiss, offer each other drinks, share food, demonstrate a smidge of care, and FIGHT.

Alayna talks a good deal, trying a variety of words when you ask her to. Mostly she just utters a sound with the same number of syllables and can replicate the first sound of the word. So she refers to her brothers as Cha-cha and Ca-ca. She’s still the most playful, interactive one. Charlie only has about 4 words, but I am noticing some progress just this week. Charlie is always content to be in his own little world, unless of course a wrestling match is an option. He’s so rough and tumble, all boy! Caleb’s skills lie in the middle of the other two. He’s still our sensitive one. Caleb has definitely attached himself to Audrey. He’ll always bypass Mom and Dad if big sister is around!

It cracks me up that Charlie was the most active in the womb, and still is now. And it’s funny how many stereotypical roles are being played out as far as birth order goes. Alayna, baby A is definitely my attitude, strong-willed, bossy, talkative leader. Caleb is my emotional one. He’s a follower. Often he’s contemplative and very obedient, but then he can become brooding and angry at the drop of a hat. Charlie is my rambunctious, happy-go-lucky boy who often seems zoned out, lost in his own thoughts and agenda. He takes whatever toys he wants with absolutely no thought to someone else’s hands around the toy to possibly stand in his way!

Even the triplets’ food preferences match their personalities. Alayna loves fruit, toast, legumes, and more fruit. Caleb loves veggies of all kinds. And Charlie likes meat and potatoes! They all adore most of all blueberries, prunes, and pasta!

Alayna’s allergies continue to be a major hurdle for us to overcome. She is still allergic to bananas and milk. There is some question as to whether she’s allergic to eggs and soy. We have discovered that she is severely allergic to peanuts. The doctors had tested her for many things about a year ago. They told me she was allergic to peanuts, but obviously couldn’t tell me how allergic she was.

I avoided all peanuts with her and until we had an accident one morning. It’s a long story, but she got some peanut butter cereal and within minutes starting severely reacting with swelling, hives, welts, breathing troubles, etc. She was rushed to the hospital via ambulance. For weeks I had a really difficult time with it all. I was so afraid. And my mind constantly replayed images of her little face and what she looked like in that ambulance. I couldn’t seem to get beyond that dreadful thought that as her momma, I wouldn’t have been able to recognize my own child (due to the swelling and hives) had she not been wearing the jammies I had put her in. I had nightmares for a couples weeks. And I didn’t want her out of my sight. All I could think of was that I’ve only ever known one person with a peanut allergy – and he died from it.

As we live with it longer, the reality is sinking in. I’m learning to read food labels. And I’m learning that this is something we can manage, although it does seem like everything is processed in a plant that also processes peanuts. I’m armed with multiple epi pens now and have emergency scenarios well rehearsed with the family. The allergy has caused me to be more busy in the kitchen and to spend more time grocery shopping. While many moms can toss their kids some processed, convenient foods from time to time to save themselves some sanity, I do not have that option! We can’t do cheese, yogurt, most crackers, most breads, and even things like lunchmeats (contain sodium lactate). We mostly eat veggies, fruit, legumes, and meat in our house. So I spend lots of time cooking. Since the triplets share so much, and I live in a constant fatigued, busy mode, I impose the same diets on all the kids so that sharing and accidents don’t happen. I also spend a lot of time, cleaning floors and checking floors when we’re out in public. Sadly, and disgustingly, my children pick up any and everything off the floor and put it in their mouths. I’m constantly worried about what Alayna puts in her mouth while we are out or in the nursery.

We’ve endured a barrage of illnesses the last several months. It’s been one crazy virus after another. I work hard to avoid the doctors’ office since I know the kids get exposed to more junk while we’re there. I’m very anti antibiotics!! And often the process of lugging 4 kids to the doctor (while I’m sick, too) isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Just last night Audrey started running a temp, so I know it’s coming for the triplets now too. It seems like my kids get sick A LOT! I’ve gotten some ideas from the doctors as to why this has been our norm. One reason is because they were preemies, so their immune system for the first 2 years of life is a smidge compromised. Some doctors say this isn’t so, some say this is a moot point. I’m not really sure what I think. Anyway. Another reason for so much sickness is because they are multiples. They share everything! And when we go out in public, I have more kids prone to pick up an illness.

Doug’s job has been….tiring…..long…..stressful. For months now, he’s been working 60-70hours a week. And it’s not just that they are long hours, it’s that they are stupid hours! Often he works between 8pm and 1am. He’s frequently on-call and his phone rings several times in the middle of the night, making him roll out of bed and grab his laptop. And he works lots of weekends. This makes us miss church. And we.hate.that. We aren’t opposed to these crazy hours for a doable length of time.  We’re ultimately praying that this will end soon, since Doug feels secure and is getting paid enough to pay our bills.

Audrey’s been plugging away at school. She still enjoys science most of all. She’s been thrilled to make it to church on Wednesdays nights this year, provided everyone is healthy. This Thanksgiving, we were delighted to remember it’s been a year since she trusted Christ for salvation. What fruits we’ve seen in her life this past year. To God be all the glory for His grace towards her! Her two pet frogs died recently. She’s been a little downcast when she recalls that in the past 6 months, we’ve lost our dog, her cat, and now the frogs. Maybe I need to get her a chia pet and bathe it in prayer.:-/

My health remains to be the bane of my life. Somedays when triplets are cranky and non-nappers, we have church commitments, and Doug’s knee deep is office woes, I feel like I’m barely hanging by a thread. My exhaustion, back pain, and inability to recover from viruses often weighs my heart and mind down even more than my physical body. Most days I just long for someone who can relate.

I did recently learn that I have an umbilical hernia from my pregnancy with the triplets. I sure wish I had gotten that fixed when I had my hysterectomy this summer. I can’t even believe that I need ANOTHER surgery. I mean, I’m 35 and I’ve only had 16 surgeries!?!?!? I’m still struggling with the retarded diastisis recti. I’m so convinced that it’s seriously reeking havoc with my back and hips. The more research that I do on it, I do believe I can fix it. But it’s going to be so much stinkin’ work. And there’s the rub. I don’t have the time. And I know, I should be asking myself if I can afford to not fix it. And I know all the reasons why I should work on it. And I know spending time on the exercise program will help me mother better. I just can’t get away from the reality that I have NO time. None. Zip. Zero. Nil. Somehow I’m already bearing the burden of trying to figure out how to read my Bible EVERY day and how to have time to fellowship and minister. I do not want to meet my Lord someday and tell Him that with my free time, I dieted and exercised and healed my tummy at the expense of time with Him and the Body. So I feel I’m a bit at an impasse.

Ooops! I forgot to publish August’s post & here it’s October!

Yes, life is busy. Too busy to post. This is old news now, but I’ll go ahead and post it anyway. This is from August 17!!

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Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I sorta left everyone hanging after my surgery, didn’t I? Let me try to give you a quick update. And let me give you the warning before hand – no pictures. Sorry. Just don’t have time to upload them, tag them, and all that jazz.

I’m doing well after my surgery. Recovery took me a little longer than expected. I ended up getting an abscess, but it’s completely healed now. I’ve been waiting around for the revolutionized life I was supposed to feel afterwards. After living half my life with chronic health issues, doctors thought having a hysterectomy would mind-blowingly rock my world. I do feel better in some respects, I’ll admit. I know it’s still in the early stages and time may reveal even greater progress. But for now, I think I’m seeing even more clearly that I still have immune and musculoskeletal issues that can’t be solved.

I’m getting adjusted to life with hormone patches. Prior to surgery, one of my biggest concerns was continuing to breastfeed the triplets after surgery. In order to honor my wishes, our doctor felt it best to put me on the lowest hormone dose available so that my milk supply wouldn’t be compromised. While in recovery from surgery the doctor gave Doug a prescription, we got it filled, and I started applying the patch as directed. After several days I noticed the babies nursing for shorter periods of time and becoming very fussy. When I had to go back to the doctor because of another surgical complication, the nurse noticed I was on the highest dose possible. When I questioned the doctor about it, he got a smidge snarky with me – stuff about I was the patient, not the babies; my blood work revealed that was the best dose; my husband wouldn’t like it if I were on a lower dose; either let the babies fuss or supplement with formula. Finally after a few days of research and phone calls, the doctor was willing to cut my dosage in half. So, then after a few days, milk production was back up. However, I can tell that I’m not at the right hormone dose and have many annoying symptoms. But for now, Doug and I’ve decided that my short term discomfort is worth it, to have this nursing relationship with the triplets.

Our renovation project seemed to mirror a popular movie, "The Money Pit", in many respects. We should’ve known when the contractor told us it’d take a mere ‘two weeks’! After 6 weeks, we kept calling the guys back to fix mistakes, only to see them having made a small percentage of the repairs. So, we thought it prudent to finish the work ourselves, with the help of my dad, and work on getting back into our house! We’d been living with my folks for 6 weeks. Living with my folks was awesome, but the renovation aspect of it was frustrating. But I think we learned some lessons along the way, and we are better prepared for when the next phase of bigger renovations gets started – the least of which is to NOT use the same contractor.

We began our homeschooling year this past week. We decided to use the Bob Jones extended learning hard drive again this year. We have been quite impressed with the quality of their program, and Audrey really finds it exciting. When her Stanford Achievement tests showed her in the 90-99th percentile in the nation across the board, we feel confident that this curriculum is teaching her well. This program does help me strike a happy medium of having her home, but freeing me up to care for the triplets.

The triplets are now 15 months. They just had their check-up and it took less than 2 hours! All are healthy and still growing well on momma’s milk! Caleb (born biggest) is 18lbs 10oz. Alayna is 20lbs 10oz. and Charlie is 21lbs 3oz. 

All three are constantly changing – becoming more fun/interactive, but needing more discipline, for sure. I recently dropped them down to nursing 3 times a day. We’re still experiencing trouble with them waking each other at night or during nap, often making me wish I had a huge house for everyone to have their own bedroom. Everyone is walking now, but Alayna sure had a headstart on the boys, starting to walk in May and having it down pat by the first week of June. Charlie figured it about 2 1/2 weeks ago and Caleb has really been on the go for about a week or so. Funny how I had pegged Caleb to walk so much sooner, since he crawled months before the other two.

They’ve all learned to sign ‘more’ and ‘all done’, which is very helpful. We’re trying hard to continue teaching them the finer art of eating – you know, not throwing food, not putting food in your hair, asking for more instead of screaming, etc. It’s so much harder to teach 3 at once than it ever was with just Audrey. We’re also working on teaching them to come when called, keep hands out of the diaper changing process, leave my laptop alone – although when I thought I had it nipped in the bud, someone created a file on my laptop by the name of qqqqqqq22w1s3! Caleb and Alayna tend to play together more. Although all of them can say ‘momma’, none of them actually use it. This really makes me sad! All 3 have a strong disdain for grass. Despite trying to get them to be ok with it this summer, they all still loathe it, especially Caleb. We survived another cold recently. And strangely enough, Charlie recently got roseola. How the other 2 avoided it, is beyond me. Everyone has learned where their eyes and nose are and to stretch their arms over their heads when you ask them how big they are. All love to run around in just their diaper, patting their tummies if you ask them where their tummy is. They like to ‘moooo’ when you ask them what a cow says.

Alayna is the most interactive, playful of the three. She loves to mimic us, jabber like crazy, make funny faces, play ring-around-the-rosey, dance, and play tag/chase. She can say: all done, brush, boo, wow, whoa, daddy, momma, good girl, no, yes, ‘kay, and ‘ta-da!’, ‘that?’, go, and up. "Layney Bird’ or "Cupcake" as she’s often called, requires the least amount of sleep and can still function well no matter how tired she gets. Alayna has a special bond with her big sister! She also has a strong affection for her grandpa. I think she could sit in his lap all day if you let her! Alayna has a feisty side to her, much more than the boys. She may not have intelligible words, but I KNOW she is talking back when I discipline her. She often tells the boys when they are crying ‘SHHHH!’ She is more stubborn and more displays of attitude. Ironically, she is the one to get most afraid of unfamiliar faces. Alayna is the least picky eater and the fastest eater. She still adores legumes of any kind. She does an excellent job of signing ‘more’ and ‘all done’.

Caleb is still our contemplative boy, often an enigma to us. He’s cautious. He’s often afraid of unfamiliar places and struggles with change. But he’s our best sleeper and our best cuddler! He adores being held and resting his head on our shoulder. Love that!!! He helps me stop every now and again and take a little break from the rat race that is our life. Caleb is a very picky eater, and yet is a very purposeful, careful eater, diligent to put one thing in his mouth at a time, chewing thoroughly. I never have to worry that he’s eating too much, too quickly, etc. He still has the cutest little grin and the most precious lips when he smiles. Caleb is definitely the smallest of the three. His frame is so slender, and his bum – well, goodness, it’s just the cutest bum ever! He could easily still wear a size 2 diaper and a 3-6month pant size! Caleb is still pretty dependent on his pacifier. He loves taking a bath in our inflatable duck and loudly ‘quacks’ through the whole experience. He says ‘dada’, ‘up’, and ‘all done’.

Charlie is all boy! He plays rougher than the other two, climbing, stealing, grabbing, and tromping through whatever’s in his way. Often it would seem like what’s he doing should hurt, but he keeps on going! Charlie shovels food in his mouth at warp speed with no care to chew, even though he has the most teeth. He often scares me because he jams so much food in his mouth and frequently needs to hold his hand over his mouth to keep food from falling out while he chews. Crazy animal. He communicates the least and even his two signs are not very accurate. When Charlie gets sleepy, he usually collapses on the floor, and gets into a strange crawling position and with his head on the floor pushes himself all around. We call it his ‘bulldozer’. Charlie is the biggest of the triplets. His hair grows so quickly. He’s had 4 hair cuts already. Thankfully, he’s not scared at all of the clippers. Charlie loves to drink water. He only says, ‘dada’, ‘moo’, and ‘yah’ (in response to a question).

This school year, our family has set a plan to alternate between going to church on Sundays in the morning (Sunday school and service) with the evening small group. Living about 35-40 minutes from church complicates things. Sundays are LONG, tiring, emotional days. We leave for church in the morning at 9am and don’t get home until almost 1:35 or later. Then we have leave for small group at about 5:15 and don’t get home until about 10:15. We just can’t do it all. I know, I know…..everyone has an idea or tip on how we can make this doable. And everyone has an idea of what it is that we did wrong that made us not be able to easily do it all along the way. And many question our priorities because of this decision. But, not everyone has triplets. And not every mom has chronic health issues…..This will only be like this for a time. We are pleased that we will be going every Wednesday night to church now too! So that’s exciting. We do feel like we’re right on the brink of being able to go to all Sunday events, morning and evening. But for now, the trips are still very dependent on 2 naps.

I’ve been challenged this past month to simplify my life and drop any and all things in order to spend time in prayer and reading my Bible or Bible-based book every day. I’m seeking to spend more time thinking about the gospel and applying it to my every day life, each menial task, and finding joy in all things. I’ve struggled so badly since the babies were born to carve out time with my Savior because of constant busyness and constant fatigue. For now, my reading and prayer time are shorter than I’d like them to be, but I’d rather have little time than no time. And I’m doing a fair amount of reading in good books by solid authors who help me digest the Word. I’m so brain dead lately, I find it helpful to have someone else do part of the thinking for me. Again, this is just for now and to help me establish a habit. I’ll perfect the method as I go. Lately, my house has been more messy. The kitchen island has been a little more piled up, laundry is often folded in the basket but not yet returned to drawers, the vacuuming is only getting done about twice a week (GASP!), and dirty dishes sometimes greet me in the morning. But I’ve read each day this week, listened to a sermon, and prayed. In fact, I’ve had several times this week when I’ve caught myself going about my daily chores with a bad attitude and was able to adjust my thinking by pondering the gospel and how it directly affected my loading of the dishwasher. I prayed right through the rest of the job and found contentment. Yay! Tiny victory for myself.

I really want to pull my efforts into examining my own heart and seeking after knowing God, more than being organized, having tasty meals, cutting coupons to save money, swiffering floors, having everything run smoothly, wondering what other people think of me, and having obedient children. I know that in the end, the right priorities and loving the Lord will make me a better mom and wife.

An update on Bec’s surgery

Thank you for all praying for us today! Today was quite a doozie, and we are privileged to have brothers and sisters in Christ who bring us and our family to the Lord in our time of need. Thank you so much!

Here’s a quick update…

Bec’s surgery
The surgery itself seemed to go off without a hitch. The doctor came out and spoke to me and he seemed very happy with the outcome. He said he was able to remove everything he was supposed to without disrupting anything else. He said she’d have some pain, but that she should be feeling better by Monday.

About two hours after that chat, they called me back to be with Bec in the recovery room. That’s where things got interesting. She had a very difficult time with recovery today due to some complications. The nurses were expecting us to be ready to leave after just an hour or so, but it actually took several more hours. Bec experienced some of the worst pain she’s ever had during those hours in recovery, and she came home still feeling pretty bad.

This evening she’s been able to rest for the most part. She’s still in quite a bit of pain. Of course, some pain is expected, and we don’t really think anything is out of the ordinary at this point. She’s taking her pain meds and trying to rest as much as possible.

Nursing
Tomorrow morning Bec’s going to try to resume her nursing schedule with the triplets.  It seems counterintuitive, but she is completely capable of nursing after the hysterectomy. Apparently nothing that affects the milk supply is removed during the procedure. So, she’s been planning to continue nursing.

The fact that she wanted to continue nursing caused a lot of issues during today’s surgery and recovery. It seemed to affect just about everything: from choosing the time the surgery was scheduled for to the meds they gave her afterward. We’re anxious to see if all these compromises paid off and if she can resume nursing without any troubles.

Thanks again for your constant prayers and encouragement!

Doug (for Bec)

May–Super Busy and Full of Changes

This is a big month. BIG. So many things going on. We’ve been uber busy. So many stressors tempting me to be stressed. I’m working hard to not crumble under the strain, but let me give you a synopsis.

THE TRIPS
The triplets turned one. YEAH!! Now -  CRY!!!!! Where does the time go? In some respects, this is hard to swallow. My children are no longer tiny infants. How’d that happen? With triplets – breastfeeding triplets – and a homeschooled 8 year old, many days have faded away in survival mode. And now that they are gone, I beat myself up for not savoring the days. Days with my last babies. We’re still nursing and the babies are growing well. All are cruising the furniture. Alayna is up to 6 steps! All of them are waving hi and bye and clapping. Alayna and Caleb both say ‘Uh-oh!’ and they both say, ‘What?’ – Strange, I know. It’s because I often pop my head around the corner or the playroom and loudly yell "What?" when everyone is jabbering away. Alayna is our most interactive one, loving to copy us, play games, and unfortunately, talk back to me when she’s mad. I don’t know her exact choice of words, but I KNOW she’s mad! The babies love to fight and play and laugh with each other. I’ve even seen 2 signs of affection from Alayna and Caleb – both offering a pacifier to an upset sibling! (Oh yeah, melt my heart!) Charlie remains more baby-like compared to the other two. Charlie’s hair’s been growing quickly, making for 3 little hair cuts already. He still struggles from time to time settling down at nap. He adores Momma’s milk! Caleb is still the cuddler, with expressive eyebrows, and is very sensitive to when the others get disciplined. Alayna still adores eating black beans, playing peek-a-boo, and giving kisses. She remains the observant one, never willing to sit still for even a second in your lap for fear she’ll miss out on something happening in the room.

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Alayna weighed in at 17lbs 13oz. Caleb was 16lbs 3oz (He’s so tiny!). And Charlie was 19lbs. The babies still haven’t had grains. We’ll be starting this week with yogurt to see how Alayna does with it considering she has a mild milk allergy. Then, we’ll start delving into some grains and then bananas and eggs (Alayna’s allergic to those as well.)

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We enjoyed a drop by birthday party for the triplets at our church with some friends, mostly from small group. It was so nice to celebrate their lives with the friends who prayed for the adoption, my pregnancy and our first year. It wasn’t an extravagant to-do, but fun nonetheless. We decorated with blue, pink, and green polkadots and balloons. We set up their newborn pictures everywhere. Friends and family all contributed food and we had a good ole’ time.

LATELY
Last Thursday I found myself at the doctor because of an ovarian cyst. I hate those stupid things. The doctor says it’s my body’s last hurrah; one last confirmation that I need my hysterectomy on Friday. Doctor says the only thing to do is to move up the surgery for relief. Small snag though. The surgeon is in Guatemala. So, I wait…

Friday, mom and dad graciously took the triplets to the pediatrician for their 12 month check-up. Only triplet moms can truly relate to the massive undertaking of taking 3 crabby, hungry, mobile babies to the doctor for simultaneous strip-downs, weigh-ins, measurements, developmental surveys, questionnaires, a shot, and then exams. It’s tougher than any marathon you’ve ever attempted!

We had huge plans in the makings for a celebration for Audrey to commemorate her finish of 3rd grade and her accomplishments for the year and on her achievement tests. But because of the cyst and back spasms, we curtailed the plans a bit. We took her to Red Robin for lunch, out to buy shoes, the park, and then to Gigi’s for a cupcake.

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Sunday we had to head out of town for a wedding. We decided last minute to leave the babies with a sitter. 9 1/2 hours is a lot to pay for a sitter of triplets! But, I couldn’t imagine taking them to an outdoor wedding in the heat for that length of time.

Today was the delivery of cabinets, sinks, countertops. My garage is full of tiles, grout, faucets, showerheads, drawer pulls, light fixtures, etc. Paint chips are pinned to the wall in hopes that one just magically reveals itself to me as the ‘right’ one. Renovations start on Friday. Guess what? We still don’t have the tub or toilet for one of the bathrooms.

LIFE WITHOUT SADIE
All throughout this last week, we’ve been mourning the loss of our dear dog Sadie. We had to put her down, after nearly 12 years of faithful companionship. She was a great dog. We loved her dearly. No doubt, she is Doug’s and my dog – especially mine. She ‘s been with us since before we had children. She heard all my tears of infertility. She was with us through church changes, job switches, 12+ surgeries, death of loved ones, the birth of all 4 of our kids, and every other major milestone of our marriage. Now that she is gone, I realize just how much I talked to her every day, all day long. I miss her warmth, her softness, her smiling panting, her tail wagging, the sounds of her ringing the bell when she needed to go outside, her snoring at night, her shadowing me throughout the day, her help licking up spills on the kitchen floor….. After a week, the house still feels eerily quiet when all the children are in bed. Doug and I feel the void especially at bed time, morning, and of course, after dinner, when she always begged Doug for a rub down while he drank his evening coffee. I think it’ll be months before I wake up and step out of bed without picking up my feet to make sure I don’t step on her. It’s strange how at times I could swear I hear her, feel her, or see her still about the house. I’d be liar if I didn’t tell you that I’ve cried a river this last week as I’ve missed her, longed for her, questioned our decision, remembered funny stories, and recalled the whole ordeal of taking her to the vet and holding her while they put her to sleep. It’s just an animal, I tell myself. Yet it’s strange how much she loved me and I loved her. It’s ironic that an animal can be more faithful and reliable than some friends and family. Life will go on, but for now, it still hurts and sometimes, there will just be a few tears.

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EMBRYO ADOPTION
This week we had to sign over and release the one last embryo that is Alayna, Caleb, and Charlie’s biological sibling. I could never really adequately explain all the thoughts and emotions around this. It’s been far more gut-wrenching than I could’ve imagined and so, I do not think it’s even appropriate for me to open my soul for an explanation. Suffice it to say, it has broken my heart. That embryo was never ‘ours’;it was simply reserved for us should we decide to have another embryo transfer. I cannot due to health reasons. I never agreed to adopt a family. That’s not the way the program works. In the vast frozen sea of hundreds of thousands of embryos, I attempted to save 1. God happened to grant me 3 out of 4. But it ‘feels’ like I’m giving up a baby. It ‘feels’ like I am giving that one up for adoption. I know that’s not reality. I know it. But when I look into Alayna, Caleb, and Charlie’s eyes, I see little people. Diverse and yet similar. And my brain wanders to that last little Korean/Swedish baby of unknown origin and I wonder if it’s a boy or a girl. Does it look Asian like Charlie? Or is it more Swedish like Alayna and Caleb? I’ve begun to not see it as an embryo. But as my kids’ sibling. And I want to be his/her momma too. I wonder what my triplets will ask me someday. And wonder if they’ll ask me about that one. I won’t even know if it ever got adopted or if it ended in a live birth. And I hate that. I know that I need to keep the whole thing in proper perspective. I know that it doesn’t make sense to take that one. That one is no different than the hundreds of thousands of unwanted frozen embryos out there waiting for a mom and dad. I can’t save every baby. I could never have known that I would end up with triplets. I didn’t adopt that family of embryos. I randomly said to start with that group of embryos. And it worked out that I got 3 of the 4. I also have to remember that I it’s not even possible to go through a transfer cycle with just 1 embryo. The NEDC doesn’t do it like that. AND it’s all a moot point since I’m about to have a hysterectomy this week. Argghh! But I find my momma heart yearning for this child. Yearning to teach it about God. To show him/her to the cute triplet siblings it has. I need to think of it as letting it go so that it has the opportunity to have life. But, it ‘feels’ like I’m rejecting it, denying it life.

HYSTERECTOMY
This whole situation leads into my bittersweet decision to have a hysterectomy. I knew 10 years ago that a hysterectomy was in my future. The doctor told me that I would never make it to 30 without one. I’m 34. And I had triplets at 33! I should view it all as an accomplishment -a super special extension that God granted to us. I should be thrilled to leave the constant misery of bleeding, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, pain, surgeries, medications, inflammation, and sickness behind. And I am. Since I was 17, this is really all I’ve ever known. A constant pain in the butt. A constant thorn in my side. And so I’m eagerly anticipating to know what life will be like. I’m anxious to know what energy lies in wait for me since I won’t have the constant inflammation of aggressive, stage 4 endometriosis draining my immune system of all its resources. I may feel like a new woman! My doctor feels as though much of my aches and pains, fatigue, propensity for catching bugs, my inability to recover from illnesses may all be rooted in my endometriosis. He says to think of it the same way as if I had strep throat for the past 18 years. A constant infection my body is fighting. And according to 3 specialists, I have the worst endo they’ve ever seen (Go me!!!). Since I’ve now been fighting endo more than half of my life, I’ve forgotten what healthy means. So, we shall see…..

But then there’s the ‘bitter’ part of the bittersweet decision to have my surgery. No more babies. For 13 years of our marriage, Doug and I have poured countless hours, tears, and dollars into preserving my fertility and trying to have babies. This is all our marriage has ever known. Yes, we’re eager to leave that weight behind us, but it seems counterintuitive now to choose to end it all. We pined for kids for more than a decade and now we’re putting finality to it all. I know that there is less than 1% chance I’d ever conceive again, so it shouldn’t make much of a difference. But it does. Folks look at our brood and the chaos we call home and ask, ‘Isn’t your family complete?’ or ‘Aren’t you done?’. Well, yes. I guess. For now anyway. For now, we aren’t pursuing more kids. But I know , sooner than later, the ‘I want a baby’-blues will hit. I don’t know what the future holds and if God leads us down an adoption road. For now, we’re done! But I hate the finality of never being able to carry a child. Never again will I feel a baby wiggle, kick, and hiccup inside of me. And I hate that. I hate that nothing about our family has been up to us. Never in our hands. But I suppose that’s just my type A, control freak, sinful nature rearing it’s bogusly ugly head. Some families have it so easy – having children when they want, good health, with the wife having a natural journey of fertility, hormones, menopause, etc. Not me. And so I guess I wish I were just a smidge normal. Funny huh? Still wishing to be normal. You’re reading this and thinking I should’ve given that up years ago, eh!?

So, I’m nervous about the pain of the surgery. Our doctor says this will be a real ‘doozy’. He will be removing my uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. He’ll tighten up the ligaments and fix the cervix. This is repair work all necessary since carrying the triplets reeked havoc on my insides, messed with my bladder, and caused a prolapsed uterus. The doctor will also be removing the endometriosis. Fun times. It’s especially ‘fun’ when I’m faced with continuing to nurse the triplets. This has become a huge concern for me, a real matter of prayer. I really need surgery to be scheduled at a good time on Friday so that I can nurse the babies before I leave in the morning. I need to not be kept waiting all day for surgery without being able to eat and drink. Nursing triplets makes me one thirsty, hungry girl. I need the proper medications that allow me to nurse and not have to pump and dump my milk. And I need the babies to be calm and obedient, not wiggly on me when they go to nurse.

We’ll be staying with my folks for 2 weeks while I recover and renovations are done in our house. This is also stressful for me. I hate knowing that I’ll be putting my parents out for such a long time. I hate knowing that while I’m laid up somewhere else, strangers will be in my house gutting bathrooms, tracking dust everywhere, cutting out portions of my kitchen ceiling, and traipsing through my bedroom all day long – without me there to monitor it all. I’m praying my mom can keep up with the pace of the kids and that Doug can balance work, a sick wife, and renovations at the house. I’m also praying that the triplets sleep well in their pack and plays for 2 weeks. Recovery doesn’t sound so sweet with 3 irritable babies who hate their make-shift beds.

I’m also concerned for Audrey. In her 8 years of life, I’ve had 12 surgeries. I’m not the ‘fun’ mom I so often want to be for her. I dream of being able to let her be on a swim team, take piano lessons, get to church Sunday night, and have gobs of sleepovers. But my health doesn’t permit me to be like all her friends. I hate that I’m not like my friends – but I’m a little older and have had a lifetime to realize that my health doesn’t permit much of a social life. She’s only 8. She’ll be missing Memorial Day on the river with small group. And more than likely, she’ll miss Back Yard Bible Club at our church. She LOVES those. LOVES them, I tell you. And Momma has to say ‘sorry’ AGAIN.

Today’s Report

I took the girls to their eye appointment today. Things went as well as I could’ve hoped for. Our God is good. He’d be good even if we had gotten lots of ‘bad’ news. But today, His will provided for my girls’ eyes to be working well. And I’m one grateful Momma.

Audrey does have some mild nearsightedness in one eye and a bit of astigmatism. However the doctor feels it is best to let her wait 1 more year before we do glasses. Audrey is relieved. She doesn’t mind the prospect of glasses, but for now, glasses would be a bother for her. Just something else to keep up with. Something else, along with her LONG hair, to keep the babies from yanking on. Audrey did get her eyes dilated today. It’s been 10 hours since it was done and she still has pupils the size of quarters.

Alayna doesn’t have a lazy eye. It’s Pseudostrabismus. Go ahead – say that 3 times really quickly! Ha! Basically it means that she has a false appearance of misaligned eyes. It is common in infants, and is due to a wide bridge of the nose and small folds of the eyelid skin on the nasal side of the eye contributing to this misaligned look by covering a portion of the white of her eye. As she matures, this will improve and may even disappear. When she is tired and that eyelid droops, that may just be something she’ll have all her life. It doesn’t droop too much. It’s just part of her!

Charlie has been feeling yuck today. Poor thing. He’s been having diarrhea all day. This isn’t one of my more favorite things to deal with. He’s on outfit numero 3 and we still have one more feeding to go. My mom gave him a bath today and I’m just predicting another one in her very near future.

Tonight I made Audrey take a bath. She’s getting her legs casted in the morning, so I wanted her legs spiffy before they became entombed for 3 weeks! I even clipped her toenails, removed remnants of old nail polish. And she informed me she cleaned her legs 3 time with 3 different methods, 1 for each week they’d be in her cast. Ah, she makes me giggle. For those that know her love for cleanliness, you’re giggling too. And of course, if you know me, you’re giggle at me, since you know she learns these things from me. I let her put glow sticks in the water and bathe in the dark. Wahoo! I’m hoping that this sort of makes up for a little bit of a poopy day for her – maybe that wasn’t the best choice of words in light of the above paragraph. She hadn’t planned on getting her eyes dilated and it’s been a big nuisance for her. She wanted to play outside one last time before getting her casts on. But she couldn’t stand the sunlight. And then we couldn’t find sunglasses. By the time we found an old pair of mine that would stay on her head, she stepped outside and, literally, it started thundering within 60 seconds. She struggled to do her school work because of her vision. Not that fun of a day.

I think this weekend Doug and I are going to go out to dinner. Yeah! We can’t be gone too long. After having mastitis last week, I really can’t afford to miss a feeding. Skipping nursings is not easy. It’s not like I’m missing out on ‘just 1 nursing’. Nope. It’s more like ‘not feeding 3 mouths’. The volume of milk makes it difficult to skip. I hate to mention it to Doug, but we may need to run and get some clothes for the children. Last year I didn’t buy Audrey clothes. But I don’t think she can wear her clothes for a 3rd summer. I also need to get the boys some clothes. I don’t have 1 summer thing for them. And trust me, it’s totally summer here. It has been for a few weeks. We already saw 87degrees on the thermometer. The fleece stuff I have for them, might be a little much! So yeah- shopping for the kids. On our date. It’s the new ‘norm’ for us.

Keeping in mind that nothing is too small or too silly to take to the Lord in prayer, I’m now asking God to stop Itty Bitty Cupcake from biting me. Doug reminds me that if God can shut the mouths of lions and protect Daniel, he can protect me from the bites of my children. Thankfully, Caleb hasn’t bitten me in weeks, but Alayna now thinks this is acceptable. She believes this to be a good way to communicate to me that she does NOT like being the last one to nurse at a feeding. She squirms, kicks, screams, and bites. So, we’ll see where this behavior takes us. I am bound and determined to teach her that this is wrong. But I’m afraid we may be having to supplement her when it’s her turn to be last. But, I’m still praying that God will teach her patience in this area.

Oh, I think, maybe, just maybe, Caleb is saying "Momma". I pray this is so. For 8 1/2 years I’ve been raising a child who has lived and breathed for her daddy. She always crawled to him, walked for him, cries for him, calls for him, and adores her daddy. I’ve tried to not mind playing 2nd fiddle. But I confess, hearing ma-ma-ma-ma when I walk away from Caleb, makes my heart oosh and goosh and my feet want to happy dance.

Prayers for Health

It seems as though we’ve got a number of health issues going on in the Walker home. Some issues are short term and some have the potential to cause us to be fearful. But regardless, all are worthy of taking to the feet of Jesus and leaving them there!

We all 6 just recovered from a cold virus. Within a span of about 24 hours, it had laid waste to every one of us. I was nervous the pets were going to get sick or do something stupid, because there was no way I had 1 teeny ounce of energy or stamina to deal with them!

AUDREY
Audrey will be going to the eye doctor tomorrow. It looks as though she will be getting glasses. I watched her read the eye chart at the pediatrician, and her one eye failed miserably. – Or maybe she passed and it’s actually me!?!?

Audrey will be having both of her legs casted on Friday. She has what doctors call Idiopathic Toe Walking. I almost got a little defensive for my child thinking it had something to do with being an idiot. Big word meaning she habitually walks on her tip toes. We noticed when she was a small toddler that she had quite a fascination for her tip toes. For a long time we thought it was quirky, cute, and just a phase. Through the years, this propensity for toe walking proved to be quite difficult for Doug and I to break her of. Honestly, I thought she would just grow out of it. I thought if we explained it to her enough, warned her of the potential problems down the road, and reminded her enough, she’d stop. And suddenly, I realized the child was 8 1/2 years old, walking through the house with an infant on her hip – and up on her tip toes.

For lots of Idiopathic Toe Walkers, they can’t really walk normally. For Audrey, it’s a little more that she won’t walk normal. She’s capable for the most part, she just doesn’t. And because she has been doing it for long so, it’s more comfortable for her now that certain muscles have gotten weak in time and others have gotten stronger. Now, her Achilles tendon is just barely starting to shorten as she grows. After running and playing, or just at the end of the day, her legs and feet start to hurt. Think of it as a little child, constantly growing, and living her life in stiletto heels. Ouch. Physical therapy to strengthen and stretch her Achilles tendon and such may help a tad; however it wouldn’t break her of the habit.

So for 3 weeks her legs will be in casts, preventing her from walking on her toes. This cold turkey approach will hopefully break the cycle of toe walking, give rest to the areas of her feet and legs that have for so long been overworked, and actually weaken her monstrous calf muscles. If Audrey never learned to walk on her feet normally, as she grew her Achilles tendon would become very short and tight, totally preventing her from walking normally no matter how hard she tried. And she’d would have to have surgery. So, we are working to prevent that for her. There is the possibility that she will revert to toe walking after the casts come off, but we’ll just cross that proverbial road when we get there.

She is slightly excited about it…..because they’ll be pink. It’s the mind of an 8 year old. I on the other hand? I’m not as thrilled. I wish I had jumped on this in years past- you know, like before I had 3 babies! Now, for 3 weeks, I’ll be losing my biggest helper. Plus, I’ll be having to help her bathe. And I’m already anticipating the complaining. Granted, it’ll be a good lesson for her. I just feel a little lazy, I suppose. I have so many other things going on, that I don’t feel up for it. We hadn’t anticipated it being 85degrees out in March, so I sure hope she doesn’t get too hot.

ALAYNA
Alayna will be seeing a pediatric ophthalmologist tomorrow. It seems like her left eye is a bit lazy. We tend to notice it more when she is sleepy. Our pediatrician agreed with me, but said it was a little harder for him to diagnose since she is half Korean and the space between her eyes is wide. So, he thought it prudent to have a specialist take a look at her.

Alayna has been having a terrible time with eczema. She gets it particularly bad on the backs of her legs and the back of her neck. In the last couple of weeks, it has been causing open, weeping sores. Poor baby! She has figured out how to scratch her neck and will scratch until it bleeds. I’ve been hearing that soaking baths are good for her, but I don’t have time to bath her 1-2x/day! That sounds so terrible to say, especially when I think of her poor blistered, red legs. But I do try to bathe her, keeping her skin covered with water at all times, quickly applying organic lotion with no fragrance or junk. I apply lotion to her 2-4x/day. As it gets warmer, I find it even trickier. I want to keep her from getting hot. But if I put her in something that exposes her skin and she crawls on the carpet, the carpet fibers irritate her skin. I’m starting to wonder if I need to keep my house cool and keep her in long sleeves and pants that are made of 100% cotton.

CHARLIE
Charlie will be going to the doctor next week. Several months ago we noticed Charlie having some random shivering motions. We thought it was odd that he’d occasionally shiver while drifting off to sleep. Then a couple weeks ago, he started to shake his head. It’s almost like he is shaking his head ‘no’. But I thought it was strange that he stops nursing to do it. Then a couple days ago, he’s begun tensing up his neck, shoulders, and arms in strange episodes. It could be totally nothing! We’ve tried to capture it on video for our pediatrician. We’ve mentioned it to our doctor, and so far there hasn’t been any real reason for concern. The doctor feels reassured about Charlie’s growth, development, and skill acquisition. These strange muscle movements could just be unique to Charlie as he grows and learns control over his body. He could just be finding a strange fascination with certain movements. However, we’d be fools to not look into it and make sure there isn’t something wrong.

CALEB
Caleb continues to be our little guy. There is a stark difference between him and the other two. Caleb eats like a horse. He nurses 4 times a day and has 4 solid food meals. And I do mean ‘meals’. I’ve been known to feed him 8-10oz of food and he still cries for more. The doctor says to feed him until he won’t open his mouth any more. I don’t think that’s possible! Caleb must have some wicked awesome metabolism, let me tell you.. Further proof that this little guy doesn’t not have my genes!

MULTIPLES
It’s so odd with triplets. There is always comparing going on. I’m starting to shudder at this tendency. I probably wouldn’t be bothered by Charlie’s bald spot if the other two’s hadn’t grown in. I wouldn’t notice Charlie’s early rising, if the other two didn’t sleep later. I wouldn’t notice that Alayna and Charlie are so slow to pick up finger foods, if Caleb weren’t so good at it. I might not have noticed Charlie’s strange motions if he were an only child. But I see that the others don’t do it. If Caleb were my only baby, I might think he’s just a calorie burner and big eater. But compared with the other two, he seems so tiny to me. I want to break myself of this habit. I can only imagine what their lives will be like someday when we homeschool. Oy vey.

BEC
Well then. There’s me. And I’m just a bundle of problems!

I’ll be going to the doctor about some ridiculous headaches I’m having. I’m not sure if they are related to all the fresh fruits and veggies I’m eating that I’m allergic to, or hormones, or fatigue, or what. I just know I can’t do this.

My allergies – well, they’re what you would expect from a gal who’s extremely allergic to everything, living in the city that tops the charts for the single worst place to live with seasonal allergies. <Just cough an obligatory, vicarious cough for me…and a sniff too, while you’re at it.>

I need a hysterectomy. I have endometriosis again that is causing pain. Since I’ve had 7 surgeries for it before (almost always finding it to be stage 4 –most advanced), repair surgeries cannot be done anymore. I need a complete hysterectomy removing everything but the cervix. The doctor thinks the sooner I do it the better since endometriosis has reeked much havoc on my immune system since the age of 17. He thinks it’s in my best interest to restore as much energy as I can ASAP so that I can better cope with raising the triplets. He is absolutely convinced the endometriosis is a huge reason why I’m always so achy, tired, prone to getting sick, and unable to recover quickly from colds, infections, surgeries, etc.

I do have a prolapsed uterus. It’s mild for now. It is causing some bladder issues, low back issues, and other ‘fun’ stuff. It’ll only get worse, especially as I workout getting my back stronger from the pregnancy. He’s suggesting for now he do some work on the ligaments while doing the hysterectomy and removing the endometriosis. Hopefully this will solve the problem and I won’t need the mesh procedure at all or at least for several years.

I do have a fairly severe case of diastasis recti – separation of the abdominal muscles. Basically, my “six-pack abs” are split down the middle vertically, and probably won’t come back together. I did about 10 weeks of physical therapy and it improved somewhat. I REALLY want this to get fixed, but insurance won’t cover something like this. Right now my physical therapist think my stomach muscles are seriously compromising the strength of my back. And they think that the muscle fatigue and burning in my stomach would be eliminated if I had surgery. So I have more of a case than someone who wants it fixed for cosmetic reasons! It would be awesome to have this fixed for stability and strength issues – and yes, for purely vain reasons. I don’t really enjoy the look I’ve got going post-partum! I can only thank the Lord that the scars, sags, and ugliness are a very small price to pay for my 3 little babies.

I have a torn labrum in my hip. Also resulting from the pregnancy. I may try a little more physical therapy in hopes of trying to get it to heal itself, but if we can’t get that to heal, it’ll be another surgery. I keep having terrible groin pain and sensations of it catching. I cannot sit Indian style anymore!!

The rib that I broke a few years ago, wants to constantly dislocate since delivering the triplets. It leads to horrendous back spasms and pain. For now, I’m trying to just get stronger and learn techniques for relocating/correcting it myself. I’m also struggling with iliolumbar syndrome. It’s an inflammation in a ligament that causes a slipping of a particular vertebra, pain in my back and in my leg.

These are the biggies, I guess! At least these are the issues that I am needing to think about in the very near future. I think I will shoot for a hysterectomy/endometriosis/ligament surgery at the end of May. Since I need a lot of help, this schedule best fits my parents’ schedule. I do plan on continuing to nurse after the surgery.

I adore Alayna, Caleb, and Charlie, but carrying them really did a number on me. It’s been very slow going for me and frustrating. I didn’t anticipate quite this many problems. I wish I could reduce some pain and have more energy to keep up with them. I won’t deny that I have been quite discouraged. It’s very, very difficult to take things one day at a time, when I know that my children are going to need a healthy mom today, tomorrow, the next day, the next day, the next day……